U.S. AIR FORCE AERIAL VEHICLES
|Predator B - RQ -1||
Predator B – MQ-9 Reaper Hunter-Killer
The Predator RQ-1 is a long-endurance, medium altitude UAV used for surveillance and reconnaissance missions and is armed with hellfire missiles for armed surveillance and interdiction. The Predator has been operational within several squadrons of the U.S. Air Force and future models are currently in production. Over 300,000 flight hours have already been logged for the multiple types of predators within the Air Force’s arsenal.
The Predator B – MQ-9 Reaper Hunder-Killer expanded the U.S. Air Force’s capabilities of the predator system by improving “Relief on Station” or ROS, which allowed continuous coverage over targets without any loss of time on station. Additionally, the MQ-9 has a much more powerful turbo-charged engine and wing de-icing system that now allows for operations year-round. This hunder-killer can operate up to 50,000 feet and can carry up to a total of 3,800 lbs of added weight depending on the mission. It can also carry up to 14 missiles currently.
Future Applications & Capabilities
The Predator is currently being tested to carry other types of munitions such as GUB-12 bombs and 500lb JDAM’s. The USAF has also ordered two versions of the Predator with turbofan jet engines. This predator (Predator C) is expected in 2009. The desert hawk is being enhanced to include more advanced sensors which will be able to detect buried explosives and/or improvised explosive devices (IED’s) in addition to other specialized missions.
To learn more about the various types of Predators and the USAF’s vision on employment, please view the following links:
Air Force Technology